WHEN golf’s governing bodies decided to ban the long putter, it was of barely any personal consequence.
It might make me think twice about putting money on Adam Scott, an unfounded concern as it turned out.
You see, as someone who’s quite comfortable bending over for that final hurrah of every hole, the banning wasn’t a factor. It loomed as another first-world problem; up there with having your laptop run out of power but realising the charger is in another room.
Big deal that everyone has to putt in the same, traditional way. As Sheila said when she was the spokeswoman for the Orange People (not Rickie Fowler), “tough titties.”
But what a selfish bubble that is to live in.
What about the long-strokers? What’s become of them? That illegal anchoring could have been one of the only things keeping them on the course. It was like having their laptop run out of power and not being able to find the charger, at all.
There’s one fellow I know whose relationship with his long putter was both long and complex. It was one of love, tenderness and understanding. He was lost without it, literally and emotionally.
Worse still, he considered severing ties with the game because he couldn’t see a way onto the course without his ‘Witchy-Poo’ (that’s what he called her). And for him to leave the game would have been a tragedy for all of us. He’s fun, and funny; he calls his putter “Witchy-Poo,” for God’s sake. He refers to his driver as “The Great Man”. He’s the distraction we all need when our own games turn to poo.
Everyone was worried about him, especially during his fairly obvious hiatus from the game. His answer was at the bottom of a set of stairs. And no, he didn’t hurl himself from the top hoping to end it all. He had a mental mosey down a staircase with a psychologist holding his trembling psyche.
He got hypnotised
He just figured if it was good enough for smokers and snorers and over-eaters… (For the record, there are two types of hypnosis for snorers – there’s the one that stops the snorer, and the other that stops the hapless person who lives with a snorer from hearing the snorer at work. Bizarre, right?)
Long putter story short, it worked. He went to see the psych who told him to lay down, look into his whirling eye glasses he had put on and that he was getting sleepy. As in, sleeeeep-peeeey.
That’s not true. He had to imagine he was in a big, old house, one that made him feel comfortable. A family-kind of house where families had always lived. Lots of people, living and laughing and there’d be parties and weddings and happy times. That’s when he thought it was all getting a bit ridiculous and he was just going to take up lawn bowls. But the psych said, “Now, do you see the staircase going down over there?”
And he did. It went to a darker area, like a basement, he thought, but he wasn’t sure. It was a wooden staircase, he knew that. And there was a handrail and it was warm and he felt safe and secure and comfortable being there. Then he saw the door at the bottom and he was hoping it was a broom cupboard so he could get a broom, or maybe his Witchy-Poo.
He was told to keep walking down the stairs, and to relax with every step. Every step is relaxing. Yessss, that’s it. He had to count the stairs starting at 10. Then nine. Then eight, and with each step he was going into a deeper and deeper kind of trance.
He remembered getting through numbers six to two but really struggling to stay in the moment. This bloke said it was epic, a bit like the 60s and 70s. At one, he was cactus and he still hadn’t reached the door. When he got to zero, he was floating, and the idea was to float through the middle of the zero into the happy, comfortable darkness beyond it.
He never did find out what was behind the door at the bottom of the stairs, but he’s bending over when he putts and doing well. Very well, actually. He keeps taking our money.
When he walks down stairs we tell him he’s getting sleeeep-peeeee.
He just laughs – winners tend to do that.